Although most of them offer traditional table service these days, most Basque restaurants also set aside some meals to be served "family style." That means everybody sits at one long table and passes the dishes of food, just like going to your Aunt Gloria's house on Thanksgiving. It's a wonderfully social way of dining but you will be sitting with strangers.
What to do?
That's right...a "Cocktail Hour!" Most arrive a little early to enjoy a tipple in the bar and get to know the people a little bit before the meal is served and for many, that means the traditional but strong Picon Punch.
Picon Punch uses a liqueur called Amer Picon as a base. This is an orange based libation that is very hard to find in our area so we substitute triple sec and bitters. Here's the recipe:
2 1/2 oz. - triple sec
1 oz. - brandy
2-3 oz. soda water
1 oz. lemon juice
dash of bitters
dash of grenadine
In an old fashioned glass half filled with ice, pour in bitters, triple sec, grenadine, and lemon juice. Fill with soda water. Float brandy on top.